President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan declared a year-long state of emergency on Friday, in an address that also announced his decision to dissolve his federal cabinet and local governments.
He also called on Sudanese lawmakers to defer any constitutional amendments that would allow him to remain in office for a third term. Bashir’s current term runs through 2020.
Bashir’s announcement follows weeks of economic protests in Sudan that evolved into nationwide demands for Bashir to step down. At least 32 people have died since the near-daily protests began in December, although activists estimate the toll is closer to 60 fatalities, according to Reuters.
The protests continued on Friday, with security forces firing tear gas into crowds in Khartoum. Police also have arrested key opposition members, including the daughter of Umma Party leader Sadiq al-Mahdi, who returned to Sudan from Ethiopia as the protests began after a year outside the country.
Videos posted to social media by the Sudan Change Now activist group showed crowds in the streets of Khartoum, defiantly protesting Bashir after his state of emergency announcement. The group said there were reports early Saturday of police rounding up leaders of a Sudanese doctor’s movement who, along with other professionals, have joined in the calls for Bashir to go.
Supporters of Bashir and his National Congress Party also took to the streets, the group said.
Image: Sudan Change Now file